Pathauto can do the job easily for all content types, but in my case I only have one content type URL that needs to be customized, and I would prefer to not install Pathauto and Token.
Can anyone advise me how to do?
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See p. 149 of Pro Drupal Development, use hook_insert(). When a new node is saved, hook_insert() is called. This is the place to handle any custom processing of the node's content before the node is saved. Also look at p. 152-156 Pro Drupal Development which talks about all of the different hook_node_xxxx() functions.
I think using hook_node_insert() as suggested in the previous answer will result in a hook into ALL node creations which will not address your need to alter a specific content type.